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The International Style or internationalism[1] is a major architectural style that was developed in the 1920s and 1930s and was closely related to modernism and modern architecture. It was first defined by Museum of Modern Art curators Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in 1932, based on works of architecture from the 1920s. The terms rationalist architecture and modern movement are often used interchangeably with International Style,[1][2][3][4] although the former is mostly used in the English-speaking world to specifically refer to the Italian rationalism of architects such as Giuseppe Terragni and Gino Pollini,[5] or even the International Style that developed in Europe as a whole.[6]

It is defined by the Getty Research Institute as "the style of architecture that emerged in Holland, France, and Germany after World War I and spread throughout the world, becoming the dominant architectural style until the 1970s. The style is characterized by an emphasis on volume over mass, the use of lightweight, mass-produced, industrial materials, rejection of all ornament and colour, repetitive modular forms, and the use of flat surfaces, typically alternating with areas of glass."[7]

Background

Around 1900 a number of architects around the world began developing new architectural solutions to integrate traditional precedents with new social demands and technological possibilities. The work of Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde in Brussels, Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Otto Wagner in Vienna and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, among many others, can be seen as a common struggle between old and new. These architects were not considered part of the International Style because they practiced in an "individualistic manner" and seen as the last representatives of Romanticism.

The International Style can be traced to buildings designed by a small group of modernists, of which the major figures includes Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jacobus Oud, Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson.[8]

The founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, along with prominent Bauhaus instructor, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, became known for steel frame structures employing glass curtain walls.  One of the world's earliest modern buildings where this can be seen is a shoe factory designed by Gropius in 1911 in Alfeld, Germany, called the Fagus Works building. The first building built entirely on Bauhaus design principles was the concrete and steel Haus am Horn, built in 1923 in Weimar, Germany, designed by Georg Muche.[9] The Gropius designed Bauhaus school building in Dessau, built 1925–26 and the Harvard Graduate Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1949–50) also known as the Gropius Complex, exhibit clean lines[10] and a "concern for uncluttered interior spaces".[8]

Marcel Breuer, a recognized leader in Béton Brut (Brutalist) architecture and notable alumni of the Bauhaus,[11] who also pioneered the use of plywood and tubular steel in furniture design,[12] and who after leaving the Bauhaus would later teach alongside Gropius at Harvard, is as well an important contributor to Modernism and the International Style.[13]

Prior to use of the term 'International Style', some American architects—such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Irving Gill—exemplified qualities of simplification, honesty and clarity.[14] Frank Lloyd Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio had been exhibited in Europe and influenced the work of European modernists, and his travels there probably influenced his own work, although he refused to be categorized with them. His buildings of the 1920s and 1930s clearly showed a change in the style of the architect, but in a different direction than the International Style.[14]

In Europe the modern movement in architecture had been called Functionalism or Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), L'Esprit Nouveau, or simply Modernism and was very much concerned with the coming together of a new architectural form and social reform, creating a more open and transparent society.[15]

The Weissenhof Estate, Stuttgart, Germany (1927)

The "International Style", as defined by Hitchcock and Johnson, had developed in 1920s Western Europe, shaped by the activities of the Dutch De Stijl movement, Le Corbusier, and the Deutscher Werkbund and the Bauhaus. Le Corbusier had embraced Taylorist and Fordist strategies adopted from American industrial models in order to reorganize society. He contributed to a new journal called L'Esprit Nouveau that advocated the use of modern industrial techniques and strategies to create a higher standard of living on all socio-economic levels. In 1927, one of the first and most defining manifestations of the International Style was the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, overseen by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was enormously popular, with thousands of daily visitors.[16][17]

1932 MoMA exhibition

Philip Johnson co-defined the International Style with Henry-Russell Hitchcock as a young college graduate, and later became one of its practitioners.

The exhibition Modern Architecture: International Exhibition ran from February 9 to March 23, 1932, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in the Heckscher Building at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street in New York.[18] Beyond a foyer and office, the exhibition was divided into six rooms: the "Modern Architects" section began in the entrance room, featuring a model of William Lescaze's Chrystie-Forsyth Street Housing Development in New York. From there visitors moved to the centrally placed Room A, featuring a model of a mid-rise housing development for Evanston, Illinois, by Chicago architect brothers Monroe Bengt Bowman and Irving Bowman,[19] as well as a model and photos of Walter Gropius's Bauhaus building in Dessau. In the largest exhibition space, Room C, were works by Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, J.J.P. Oud and Frank Lloyd Wright (including a project for a house on the Mesa in Denver, 1932). Room B was a section titled "Housing", presenting "the need for a new domestic environment" as it had been identified by historian and critic Lewis Mumford. In Room D were works by Raymond Hood (including "Apartment Tower in the Country" and the McGraw-Hill building) and Richard Neutra. In Room E was a section titled "The extent of modern architecture", added at the last minute,[20] which included the works of thirty seven modern architects from fifteen countries who were said to be influenced by the works of Europeans of the 1920s. Among these works was shown Alvar Aalto's Turun Sanomat newspaper offices building in Turku, Finland.

After a six-week run in New York City, the exhibition then toured the USA – the first such "traveling-exhibition" of architecture in the US – for six years.[21]

Curators

MoMA direct

It is defined by the Getty Research Institute as "the style of architecture that emerged in Holland, France, and Germany after World War I and spread throughout the world, becoming the dominant architectural style until the 1970s. The style is characterized by an emphasis on volume over mass, the use of lightweight, mass-produced, industrial materials, rejection of all ornament and colour, repetitive modular forms, and the use of flat surfaces, typically alternating with areas of glass."[7]

Around 1900 a number of architects around the world began developing new architectural solutions to integrate traditional precedents with new social demands and technological possibilities. The work of Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde in Brussels, Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Otto Wagner in Vienna and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, among many others, can be seen as a common struggle between old and new. These architects were not considered part of the International Style because they practiced in an "individualistic manner" and seen as the last representatives of Romanticism.

The International Style can be traced to buildings designed by a small group of modernists, of which the major figures includes Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jacobus Oud, Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson.[8]

The founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, along with prominent Bauhaus instructor, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, became known for steel frame structures employing glass curtain walls.  One of the world's earliest modern buildings where this can be seen is a shoe factory designed by Gropius in 1911 in Alfeld, Germany, called the Fagus Works building. The first building built entirely on Bauhaus design principles was the concrete and steel Haus am Horn, built in 1923 in Weimar, Germany, designed by Georg Muche.[9] The Gropius designed Bauhaus school building in Dessau, built 1925–26 and the Harvard Graduate Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1949–50) also known as the Gropius Complex, exhibit clean lines[10] and a "concern for uncluttered interior spaces".[8]

Marcel Breuer, a recognized leader in Béton Brut (Brutalist) architecture and notable alumni of the Bauhaus,[11] who also pioneered the use of plywood and tubular steel in furniture design,[12] and who after leaving the Bauhaus would later teach alongside Gropius at Harvard, is as well an important contributor to Modernism and the International Style.[13]

Prior to use of the ter

The International Style can be traced to buildings designed by a small group of modernists, of which the major figures includes Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jacobus Oud, Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson.[8]

The founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, along with prominent Bauhaus instructor, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, became known for steel frame structures employing glass curtain walls.  One of the world's earliest modern buildings where this can be seen is a shoe factory designed by Gropius in 1911 in Alfeld, Germany, called the Fagus Works building. The first building built entirely on Bauhaus design principles was the concrete and steel Haus am Horn, built in 1923 in Weimar, Germany, designed by Georg Muche.[9] The Gropius designed Bauhaus school building in Dessau, built 1925–26 and the Harvard Graduate Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1949–50) also known as the Gropius Complex, exhibit clean lines[10] and a "concern for uncluttered interior spaces".[8]

Marcel Breuer, a recognized leader in Béton Brut (Brutalist) architecture and notable alumni of the Bauhaus,[11] who also pioneered the use of plywood and tubular steel in furniture design,[12] and who after leaving the Bauhaus would later teach alongside Gropius at Harvard, is as well an important contributor to Modernism and the International Style.[13]

Prior to use of the term 'International Style', some American architects—such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Irving Gill—exemplified qualities of simplification, honesty and clarity.[14] Frank Lloyd Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio had been exhibited in Europe and influenced the work of European modernists, and his travels there probably influenced his own work, although he refused to be categorized with them. His buildings of the 1920s and 1930s clearly showed a change in the style of the architect, but in a different direction than the International Style.[14]

In Europe the modern movement in architecture had been called Functionalism or Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), L'Esprit Nouveau, or simply Modernism and was very much concerned with the coming together of a new architectural form and social reform, creating a more open and transparent society.[15]

The "International Style", as defined by Hitchcock and Johnson, had developed in 1920s Western Europe, shaped by the activities of the Dutch De Stijl movement, Le Corbusier, and the Deutscher Werkbund and the Bauhaus. Le Corbusier had embraced Taylorist and Fordist strategies adopted from American industrial models in order to reorganize society. He contributed to a new journal called L'Esprit Nouveau that advocated the use of modern industrial techniques and strategies to create a higher standard of living on all socio-economic levels. In 1927, one of the first and most defining manifestations of the International Style was the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, overseen by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was enormously popular, with thousands of daily visitors.[16][17]

1932 MoMA exhibition

The exhibition Modern Architecture: International Exhibition ran from February 9 to March 23, 1932, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in the Heckscher Building at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street in New York.[18] Beyond a foyer and office, the exhibition was divided into six rooms: the "Modern Architects" section began in the entrance room, featuring a model of William Lescaze's Chrystie-Forsyth Street Housing Development in New York. From there visitors moved to the centrally placed Room A, featuring a model of a mid-rise housing development for Evanston, Illinois, by Chicago architect brothers Monroe Bengt Bowman and Irving Bowman,[19] as well as a model and photos of Walter Gropius's Bauhaus building in Dessau. In the largest exhibition space, Room C, were works by Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, J.J.P. Oud and Frank Lloyd Wright (including a project for a house on the Mesa in Denver, 1932). Room B was a section titled "Housing", presenting "the need for a new domestic environment" as it had been identified by historian and critic Lewis Mumford. In Room D were works by Raymond Hood (including "Apartment Tower in the Country" and the McGraw-Hill building) and Richard Neutra. In Room E was a section titled "The extent of modern architecture", added at the last minute,[20] which included the works of thirty seven modern architects from fifteen countries who were said to be influenced by the works of Europeans of the 1920s. Among these works was shown Alvar Aalto's Turun Sanomat newspaper offices building in Turku, Finland.

After a six-week run in New York City, the exhibition then toured the USA – the first such "traveling-exhibition" of architecture in the US – for six years.[21]

Curators

MoMA director Alfred H. Barr hired architectural historian and critic Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson[20] to curate the museum's first architectural exhibition. The three of them toured Europe together in 1929. The three of them also discussed Hitchcock's book about modern art. By December 193

After a six-week run in New York City, the exhibition then toured the USA – the first such "traveling-exhibition" of architecture in the US – for six years.[21]

MoMA director Alfred H. Barr hired architectural historian and critic Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson[20] to curate the museum's first architectural exhibition. The three of them toured Europe together in 1929. The three of them also discussed Hitchcock's book about modern art. By December 1930, the first written proposal for an exhibition of the "new architecture" was set down, yet the first draft of the book was not complete until some months later.

Publications<

The 1932 exhibition led to two publications by Hitchcock and Johnson: